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Living in the age of storytellers

Updated: 2023-08-23 07:40 ( CHINA DAILY )
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Di works at a filming set. [Photo provided to China Daily]

And Di is certainly busy enough already. Describing directors more like managerial experts than anything else, he spends the majority of his time working out project logistics. "It's a common misconception that directors are best at art and innovation," he said. For an advertising or promotional video, Di, as the director and also often the producer, needs to oversee the running of a working team of more than 100 people, right down to the little details such as where to park the vehicles and where to source electricity on the day of the shoot. As for longer videos, the staff number goes into the thousands.

But it's clear that for Di, his passion for his work keeps him going, and in many ways, a lot of the stories he tells are a reflection of his own. For the university's 2019 admissions promotional film, titled, One, two, three... infinity, Di told the story of a group of first-generation college students — the first to go to university in their families. Noting that first-generation college students, in general, face a more challenging education journey than their counterparts and need to work harder to carve out a path in life, he aimed to inspire such students to shake off the shackles of intergenerational poverty through their education.

And his story resonated. In just one day, it was viewed by more than 15 million people and became a trending "Top 20" topic on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform.

"I myself am a first-generation college student, and the film condenses my thoughts about studying at Tsinghua for seven years," said Di. "It truly realizes my ideal — to share China's stories in the field of education with the world, authentic stories of Chinese youth fighting for their dreams."

To share these stories with the world, Di has become an expert in making bilingual videos, with his Tsinghua works being posted on the university's overseas media accounts, including on Facebook and YouTube.

As a storyteller, Di is forever on the hunt for more stories in the Chinese context, and encourages others to do the same. "This is the opportunity given to us by this era — to share our innermost stories without judgment or barriers."

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